The Donut Problem


Everyone knows donuts are not good for diabetes. But I’m not talking about Entenmann’s, or even Krispy Kreme (the only donut known to tempt me — when they’re hot out of the frier, they can be geniunely delicious). I’m talking about a pump donut — the inflamed, liquid-filled lifesaver of skin that I sometimes find when I remove my Minimed Quick-set infusion set. Has anyone else experienced this? I’ll take a photo the next time it happens — but basically, it’s as if instead of absorbing into my body, the insulin (and a bit of blood and general interstitial fluid) got caught right underneath my skin, puffing up into a taut, occasionally blistered-looking donut right around where the cannula entered my skin. (I’m always tempted to pop them with a needle — an approach which I do not recommend to others.)

These donuts are not delicious. They are, instead, disgusting — and they have bad effects on your blood sugar. Two nights ago, for example, my blood sugar went high after I had sushi for lunch and refused to come down. I went to bed higher than I’d like but took a correction bolus, figuring that I’d drop back to normal as I slept — which is what normally happens. When I woke up at 4, my blood sugar was still around 180. I took another correction. Woke up again at nine. Still high. It was only when I removed the infusion set that I noticed the cause of the problem: the dreaded donut. (One of the issues with the Quick-set is that you often can’t determine if there’s a problem with the infusion site unless you take off the set entirely.)

I know what you’re thinking: switch to the Silhouette. But I’ve tried that, and I find that it causes infections more often than the Quick-set. My endocrinologist has suggested experimenting with other types of infusion sets, but I’ll be honest: I’ve got a bunch of Quick-sets in my closet that I’d hate to waste. And also, after a while, constantly dealing with diabetes malfunctions makes me a bit lazy — or at least overwhelmed. With that said, if anyone’s found a great product they’d recommend, do tell.

In other news, I’m about to have dinner at a raw food restaurant (and thus thrust myself into the controversy on whether raw food is easier for people with diabetes to manage). No word on that yet, but I can tell you one thing that definitely has a bad effect on diabetes: not taking insulin. This morning my blood sugar went up to 240 after breakfast and I couldn’t figure out why — since when is cottage cheese a danger food? And then I looked at my pump history and noticed that, despite the fact that I remember programming in a dual wave bolus after I ate, apparently it never went through. I took a correction bolus and am happy to report that things are now back to normal. But still, not the best way to start the day.

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Michael Hoskins
12 years ago

Catherine: I’ve not experienced these insulin donuts, but cringe at the fear that they’re likely somewhere in my future if I stay my current course. I’ve used five QuickSets since ordering supplies in late November, and have had only 1 that gave me numbers that could be somehow considered normal. These just don’t work for me, even though I prefer the infusion method to the most commonly used Silouette. I have real estate issues that makes the QuickSets more appealing, but that’s outweighted by the headaches of highs that just aren’t correctable or explainable without ripping out the site and… Read more »

12 years ago

Catherine you might want to check out to see the infusion sets they offer.  It could help out your problem.
Happy Holidays

Chris Stocker
12 years ago

Those donuts are definitely not good and are bad to look at.  I get them sometimes.  I only get them when I keep the set in for a lot longer than I should, usually about 6-7 days.

12 years ago

Insulin donuts? The thought makes me squeamish! I use the Silhouette, which usually works well– but then there are those times where I am reminded why gunshots to the stomach often cause death by blood-loss: I’ve ruined more than one shirt when taking out a set turned suddenly bloody.

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